Pittsburgh teen charged with punching CAPA teacher was 'having a bad day'
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A North Side teenager was "having a bad day" when he wound up and socked a Pittsburgh teacher in the face for no reason during an encounter last week in a Downtown alley, a Pittsburgh police commander said Wednesday.
"This was just a random act of violence. He stated he was just having a bad day that day," Zone 2 Cmdr. Eric Holmes said of the 15-year-old.
The punch -- caught on a video camera mounted in Tito Way between Liberty and Penn avenues -- knocked out James Addlespurger, 50, an English teacher at the Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. He is recovering from his injuries.
Hill District station Detective Al Flemm, one of the lead investigators on the case, said the suspect described himself as an "angry person" and had no connection with Mr. Addlespurger.
"Didn't know him," Detective Flemm said, "no rhyme or reason."
Police charged the 15-year-old with simple assault, a misdemeanor, after his parents turned him in. He was charged as a juvenile because state law prohibits charging minors as adults for misdemeanor offenses.
Authorities would not identify the youth because of his age but the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has learned he is Dajour Washington, a student at Pittsburgh Student Achievement Center in Homewood.
Dajour's great-grandmother, the Rev. Marlene Green-Davis, said she watched surveillance footage of the attack on the TV news but never thought Dajour could have been involved until her son told her the boy had been arrested.
"I can't believe it," she said. "I lost my appetite. I couldn't eat dinner. Not my baby."
Rev. Green-Davis said Dajour lived with her for about five years between the ages of 2 and 7 and visits her often, as he did after the teacher was punched.
He played football for some time and also received instruction in wrestling and boxing. She said he's "very intelligent but not street-wise" and that he easily follows others because he "wants to be part of a posse or crew."
She said he was recently transferred to an alternative school after he and another boy fought on school grounds.
His arrest "upset me but I turned it over to God," she said. "There's nothing I can do. Maybe this is what he needed to see that [jail's] no picnic."